MANILA: Philippine authorities have started preparations for a powerful cyclone, internationally named Yutu, which is expected to rip into northern and central Luzon after leaving a trail of destruction in the US Northern Mariana Islands last week.
Yutu, which has been given the local name Rosita, is likely to make landfall over Isabela or Aurora provinces Tuesday morning affecting areas devastated just last month by typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut), the state weather bureau said.
The latest weather forecast issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) indicates that Yutu is already 760 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan, or 750 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, moving west at 20kph.
The typhoon continues to have maximum winds of 200kph near the center and gustiness of up to 245 kph. It has a huge diameter of 800 kilometers.
PAGASA said tropical storm warnings may be issued starting Sunday night, while moderate-to-heavy rains directly associated with the typhoon are expected starting this evening (Oct. 29).
Authorities likewise warned of possible flooding and landslides in the affected areas, adding that travel by land and sea is risky.
They likewise warned that there might also be storm surges of 3-4 meters height in coastal areas of Cagayan and Isabela.
As Yutu entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility Saturday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council convened to discuss preparation measures.
Among the measures is the issuing of warnings and advice to the local government units, the stockpiling of food and non-food items, and the prepositioning and stockpiling of medicines and medical supplies.
The military, police, coast guard and fire bureau have also committed their response and assets ready for deployment.
In the Ilocos region, provincial disaster response teams and city and municipal mayors have also been asked to take all the necessary precautions for the typhoon.
Authorities are once again aiming for zero casualties and to minimize damage to properties, saying they will take no chances with the lives of the affected residents.
Those living in high-risk areas such as coastal towns, mountainous and hilly zones and river banks were told to prepare for possible evacuation to safer ground. This, as evacuation centers are being prepared.
Water and food supplies are being readied.
Inspection teams will also fan out to make sure retail outlets and other businesses engaged in the sale and distribution of basic goods will not resort to predatory pricing and practices unfair to consumers.
PAGASA earlier said Yutu is almost as strong as Mangkhut, whose maximum winds reached 205 kph and gustiness of 255 kph before it made landfall over Cagayan province last September.